Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Whole Foods mobilizes mobile coupons to drive redemption rates

Whole Foods locations in northern California are rolling out a new mobile coupon application that delivers local coupons to consumers.

Thirty-seven Whole Foods locations in northern California are using the Chinook Book mobile app for coupons from natural and organic foods brands such as Zevia and Theo Chocolate. Chinook Book is expanding its mobile coupon initiatives after a pilot this summer in Seattle.

“Chinook shares a lot of the same values that Whole Foods
does just because they care about the environment, and they are out there putting together coupon books and apps for a lot of the brands that we sell, so it makes sense from a business and value perspective,” said Beth Krauss, public relations coordinator at Whole Foods, Austin, TX.

“In terms of the digital component, our shoppers are early adopters, and they are starting to get their news on their phone and they are paying for things on their phone,” she said.

“So much of their lives is happening in the digital world, so it really made sense for us to partner with Chinook to get the app going and get the coupons available to customer where they are already spending time, which is on their mobile devices.”

The Chinook Book is the flagship product of Celilo Group Media.

Coupon expansion
Forty-two grocery stores on the West Coast and in Minneapolis, MN are now on board with the app.

Besides Whole Foods, PCC Natural Markets and Food Front Co-Op are two of the other grocery stores participating in the pilot in California and Oregon.

In-store signage and Facebook posts are promoting the mobile coupon app.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices and syncs with a consumer’s location to pull up coupons from manufacturers at nearby grocery stores.

Consumers that download the app can tap the redeem button within a coupon to show an employee the screen of their mobile device.

From there, the screen shows a store-specific price look-up number, and some retailers’ systems are also enabled to scan a bar code. The coupon information can only be displayed once.

The manufacturers participating in the program include Barbara’s Bakery, Caffe Ladro and Choice Organic Tea.

Choice Organic Tea for example is offering $1 off of any boxed product for using an app coupon.

Barbara’s Bakery on the other hand is pushing out a $3 discount off of two boxes of cereal to Chinook Book app users.

Zevia is offering consumers $1 off of a six-pack of cans or a four-pack of glass bottles.

The coupons are redeemable through Oct. 31.

A screenshot of the Chinook Book app

Scaling mobile
Whole Foods has used in-app offers within its own branded app in the past, too.

In 2012, Whole Foods rolled out The Make Change, Not Waste iPhone app to let consumers earn coupons from brands such as Organic Valley, Stonyfield and Nature’s Path (see story).

The natural grocery stores has also pushed out location-based offers to consumers via mobile advertising in the past.

Chinook Book app ran a pilot program with PCC Natural Markets (see story).

The pilot brought in 1,378 mobile redemptions across 10,000 users, and individual coupon redemptions rates were in the one – three percent range.

The company expects for redemption rates to increase as more retailers roll out mobile technology.

“The Chinook Book app contains both grocery product coupons as well as many local merchant offers, providing greater overall value to the user,” said Nik Blosser, president of Celilo Group Media, Inc., Portland, OR.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York